HEALTHIER INDULGENCES: It's fun to give food-related gifts at holiday time, but too often those delicious treats end up padding hips and thighs. Here are some better-for-them ideas for the foodies on your list:
Fisher's Caramel Popcorn: At 110 calories per 3/4-cup serving, it tastes more decadent than it is — if you can stop munching. $13 at www.fisherspopcorn.com.
Spice House's sodium-free seasonings: Inspired by the cuisines of Paris, Singapore and other locales. Four-jar gift box, $22 at www.thespicehouse.com.
Williams-Sonoma marble mortar and pestle: For low-sodium gourmets to crush herbs and spices. $100 at www.williams-sonoma.com.
Laptop Lunch bento boxes: Great for portion-controlled, attractive lunches. Nubius Organics boxes are free of phthalates, BPA, lead and PVC, and the inner containers are microwave safe. $26 at www.nubiusorganics.com.
Spri Xertube resistance bands: Great for the on-the-go fitness enthusiast. Toss a green Original Xertube (light resistance) and a red one (medium resistance) into someone's stocking. $10 each at www.spri.com.
'Two-Bite Cupcakes': This teensy-cupcake cookbook by Viola Goren (Imagine, 2010) is a great way to enjoy the culinary craze in moderation. $19. Toss in a Baker's Secret mini-cupcake pan for $10 at www.amazon.com.
Giuseppe Arcimboldo calendar: For a food fix without actually eating, this calendar features works of art by the Italian Renaissance painter famous for images of human heads composed of plants, animals and delectable-looking fruit. $14 (with poster) at shop.nga.gov.
'What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets': This coffee-table book by Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio offers detailed, gorgeous photographs of global diets, starting with a Masai herder who on the day he's pictured consumes just 800 calories. ($40, Ten Speed Press/Random House, 2010)
Li'l Lush Pud: This bath fizzer, shaped and scented like a figgy pudding, includes real cloves and lemon peel. $4 at www.lushusa.com.
BEHIND ON VACCINES: Although rates of adult immunization have inched up in recent years, they are still far below what they should be, government figures show. Only a third of all people over age 18 got a flu shot last year, for example, despite the Centers for Disease Control recommendation that everyone over 6 months of age receive it. All adults who are 60 or older should get the shingles vaccine, but just 10 percent of that group had received it, according to the CDC. Many public and private insurance programs do a good job of covering children's immunizations, but not those for adults, said William Schaffner, president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.
Los Angeles Times
CONCUSSION AND GENDER: Parents of student athletes are hearing more about the dangers of concussions, but they may not know that girls and boys may present different symptoms. A new study to be published in the January issue of the Journal of Athletic Training says that males reported amnesia and confusion or disorientation more frequently, but females reported more drowsiness and greater sensitivity to noise. But the time needed for recuperation before returning to play is the same for both genders.
"As more girls and young women participate in rough-and-tumble sports, understanding possible differences in concussion symptoms between the two genders has become increasingly important," said R. Dawn Comstock, study author and associate professor at the Ohio State University College of Medicine.
know the score on wild game: It's hunting season — time to don those orange jackets and take our quiz:
1. How many fewer calories does a pound of boneless elk have than a 1-pound sirloin steak?
2. One pound of elk contains how much of the daily value for cholesterol consumption?
a) 47 percent
b) 69 percent
c) 83 percent
3. Venison is comparable to chicken in most nutritional categories but is higher in:
c) Vitamin D
4. True or false: Some research has shown increased lead levels in those who consume game regularly, due to lead bullets.
5. Which type of game, per pound, provides the most iron?
b) Squab (pigeon)
ANSWERS: 1: b; 2: c; 3: a; 4: true; 5: c
Sources: nutritiondata.self.com, www.cnn.com